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A New Era Starts in Combating Child Labour in Seasonal Agriculture

Mon, 11/23/2020 - 18:21

Funded by the European Union, it will be Türkiye’s largest project in its domain
 
The Project “Elimination of Child Labour in Seasonal Agriculture” to be implemented by the International Labour Organization (ILO) Office for Türkiye in cooperation with the General Directorate of Labour of the Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Services (MoFLSS) and with funding from the European Union (EU) commenced in October 2020.
 
Representing Türkiye’s largest ever initiative in addressing combating child labour, the 40-month project of 29.7M Euro budget aims to field a series of actions to the benefit of many children who migrate with their families in seasonal agriculture and are already working or under the risk of working in agriculture. Work will be undertaken to reach out working children, families, employers, school administrators, teachers, mukhtars (village/neighbourhoods masters) and agricultural intermediaries to withdraw children from labour and redirect them to schooling, as well as strengthen the capacities of national and local institutions.
 
The Project will be implemented in the provinces of Şanlıurfa, Mardin, Adıyaman, Diyarbakır, Adana, Mersin, Hatay, İzmir, Manisa, Ankara, Eskişehir, Konya, Malatya, Ordu, Bursa and Düzce which are the top sending and recipient provinces of seasonal agricultural workers. Project will provide 12,000 children with on-site training, counselling and rehabilitation services; provide assistance in the form of educational and stationary materials, hygiene kits, clothing and food; improve living conditions of seasonal agricultural workers and families at settlement areas; refer the family members of children working or under the risk of working in seasonal agriculture to vocational training programmes to build life and work skills; and deliver training on the relevant legislation and the adverse impact of child labour in seasonal agriculture to 200 agricultural intermediaries, 500 employers and 200 village mukhtars.
 
The Project will also seek to strengthen the capacities of central and provincial units of MoFLSS in planning, administration, coordination, implementation and monitoring for addressing child labour in seasonal agricultural work as well as those of government institutions, social partners, professional organisations and civil society organisations engaged in combating child labour.
 
The Project will enhance the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Information System (e-METIP) of MoFLSS to monitor the access of seasonal agricultural workers and families to services, and establish a Child Labour Monitoring and Tracking System. This and the associated infrastructural work will help track the school attendance and performance of the children withdrawn from labour or prevented from engaging in the world of work, and continuously gather in one single repository all the data relating to the status of seasonal agricultural worker families and their children.
 
Ms. Zehra Zümrüt Selçuk, Minister of Family, Labour and Social Services, noted that the Project would greatly contribute to combating with child labour action of our country and said: “Under this project which will support the achievement of the goals of the National Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour adopted and implemented in line with our country’s vision of 2023, services will be provided, in coordination and cooperation with all engaged stakeholders, to improve the living and working conditions including transportation, accommodation, education and healthcare for families in seasonal agricultural work and their children.”
Mr. Nikolaus Meyer-Landrut, Ambassador and Head of the European Delegation to Türkiye said: “We provide 85% of funding to this project, as a part of our wider policy to stand up against child labour. Because child labour is a reality that prevent children from attending school and living in a safe environment. It deprives children of their childhood and education. Unfortunately, it may be in the food we consume, and the t-shirt we put on... Let’s fight against this all together!”
 
Mr. Numan Özcan, Director of the ILO Office for Türkiye, stated that there are many children who have to move with their families in seasonal agriculture, work in fields, gardens and therefore fall behind in education and face many health risks; and ILO’s purpose is to contribute to eliminating “worst forms of child labour”. Mr. Özcan added in this context that they would work on one side to reach out working children, families, employers, school administrators, teachers, mukhtars and agricultural intermediaries to redirect children from fields to schooling, and strengthen the capacities of national and local institutions on the other.

 

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Miray Akdağ - Press Officer at the Delegation of the European Union to Türkiye
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